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Breastfeeding cuts mother's breast cancer risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

When it comes to feeding babies, the old adage 'breast is best' certainly holds true, for a new study has found that it cuts the mother's risk of developing breast cancer.

Researchers at the World Cancer Research Fund have concluded that mothers should breastfeed for six months after giving birth to a child to cut their risk of breast cancer, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported on Monday.

According to Lucie Galice of the WCRF, "It is a real concern that so many women are unaware of a simple way they could help protect themselves.

"The evidence on this is convincing and this is why we recommend that -- if they are able to -- mothers should aim to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and then also continue with complementary feeding after that.

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"This means that many new mothers are making choices about whether to breastfeed without knowing it can help reduce cancer risk for them and their child."

The researchers came to the conclusion after carrying out a survey. It showed three out of four women are unaware of the link and two thirds are unaware that being breastfed cuts a child's risk of being overweight, a risk factor for cancer.

In fact, of the 1,998 people surveyed, 19 per cent thought breastfeeding reduced a woman's risk of breast cancer, while 25 per cent thought it reduced a child's risk of being overweight.

Moreover, the survey found that just 13 per cent of men were actually aware that it could cut a mother's risk of developing breast cancer.

The survey follows a review of almost 100 scientific studies in January by American Institute for Cancer Research which found "convincing" evidence that breastfeeding lowered the risk of breast cancer in women.